Douglas D. Davis Jr. has been gone for a year. On Friday, his family and friends will gather on the Napa Valley Vine Trail – where he died at the hands of a still-unknown attacker – to ensure he is not forgotten.
Relatives of the 54-year-old Napa native will hold a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m., on the Vine Trail near Central Avenue and Main Street, according to his daughter, Andrea Davis. The observance will mark the first anniversary of the death of Davis, who police say was beaten on the urban pathway while riding his bicycle on the night of Jan. 30, 2019.
“I want to get everyone together and remind everyone it’s been a year and nothing is solved,” Andrea Davis said last week. “I want to remind the community as I honor my dad, and I want to do it in a very public setting.”
The vigil site will be the same section of the Vine Trail where loved ones and passers-by created an impromptu shrine of jar candles, flowers and pictures in the days after Davis’ death. More than 60 people later gathered at that site by candlelight, a week after the attack, to share stories and reminiscences of Davis, a worker at the local Safeway, a grandfather of three.
On Tuesday, Napa Police Lt. Gary Pitkin declined to give new details about the inquiry into the case, but confirmed the department continues to pursue tips, leads and physical evidence, and is conducting more interviews as new evidence emerges.
“We continue to ask the public to forward any information they hear about the homicide they may have, regardless of how small or insignificant they may feel (the information) is,” he said.
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A police representative is expected to attend Friday’s memorial, Pitkin said.
“It’s still an active investigation; they’re still pursuing all leads. They’re remaining hopeful and we’re remaining hopeful,” said Andrea Davis.
Davis often rode his bike along the Vine Trail and told family members he felt safe doing so. On the night of the attack, he was returning home after picking up his backpack from a friend’s house, his father Doug Davis Sr. told the Napa Valley Register last year.
The trail section where the assault occurred is not illuminated, and Davis’ family has advocated for the city to install nighttime lighting to improve safety there. Neighborhood residents interviewed by the Register after Davis’ death said they tried to stay off the walkway after dark to avoid intoxicated or rowdy people, although they describe the path has safe and quiet by daylight.
Meanwhile, Davis’ family has kept up its campaign to keep his name in Napans’ minds, continuing to post tip-seeking fliers along the Vine Trail as well as downtown Napa. A $5,000 reward remains posted for information that helps solve the homicide, and the family maintains an Instagram account, Justicefordoug.
“I’m definitely a lot more guarded now, and also a lot more sympathetic to families who’ve lost their loved ones to crime,” said Andrea Davis, who will speak at Friday’s vigil along with her siblings and grandparents. “And I love a lot harder – I always express what I feel because tomorrow is not promised.”
“It comes in waves; we can remain hopeful, and then there are times when I have to shut off to survive. I try to spread the word, try to have everyone share the story.”
You can reach Howard Yune at 707-256-2214 or firstname.lastname@example.org